WWII veterans’ charity D-Day Revisited’s ‘D-Day 75 Garden’, which pays tribute to the last surviving D-Day veterans, and was exhibited at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2019, has moved to a permanent site at Arromanches, Normandy. It will be officially opened in a ceremony in the presence of 50 Normandy veterans on Thursday 6th June 2019 - the 75th anniversary of the D-Day landings.
With the help of the Royal Engineers, the ‘D-Day 75 Garden’ designer John Everiss has moved and rebuilt the Garden in seven days at a beautiful site above Arromanches overlooking Gold Beach and the famous Mulberry Harbour.
The ‘D-Day 75 Garden’ has been funded by generous contributions from HM government, supporting businesses and the British public, in an expression of collective national gratitude to the Normandy veterans for the role they played in the D-Day Landings 75 years ago. This Garden is a gift from the veterans to the communities they fought to liberate in 1944.
The Mayor of Arromanches-les-Bains, Patrick Jardin, says: “We are pleased and proud to give the D-Day 75 Garden a permanent home in our town of Arromanches. Thousands of people come here every year from all over the world to learn about the story of D-Day. This Garden epitomises that story and will inspire younger generations on the 75th anniversary and in years to come.”
Codenamed ‘Operation Overlord’, the D-Day Landings on Tuesday 6th June 1944 remain the largest seaborne invasion in world history. Nearly 160,000 men of the Allied Expeditionary Forces landed in Normandy on D-Day. They consisted primarily of British, American, Canadian and French troops, but also included soldiers, sailors and airmen from across the free world. A total of 875,000 had disembarked onto the shores of France by the end of June. Thousands of lives were lost in this massive offensive, but the operation marked a significant turning point in World War II and led to the liberation of millions of people across Europe.
With surviving veterans now approaching 100 years of age, the 75th anniversary of D-Day will be the final opportunity for many Normandy veterans to return to the beaches and battlefields and pay tribute to the friends they left behind. The ‘D-Day 75 Garden’ is a lasting legacy from the British veterans attending the poignant commemorations in Normandy on the 6th of June.
The ‘D-Day 75 Garden’ project has evolved into an inspiring, community driven story. It has captured the imagination of people across the country, who are keen to pay tribute to our surviving Normandy veterans. D-Day Revisited is thrilled to have received support from British and French businesses in the ambitious plan to transport the Garden from Chelsea to Arromanches.
All compost used in the rebuild of the ‘D-Day 75 Garden’ has been supplied free of charge by Bord na Móna’s ‘Growise’ brand. National Sales Manager, Jason Pike, says: “We are delighted to be associated with the D-Day 75 Garden; supporting a great cause and providing our award-winning compost. This project fits perfectly with our involvement in gardening and RHS Chelsea, whilst at the same time ensuring we never forget what our veteran heroes have done for this country."
British supply chain company FreshLinc have provided three articulated lorries at no cost to transport the Garden from Chelsea down to Portsmouth, across the Channel to Caen and on to Arromanches. These vehicles were liveried with ‘D-Day 75 Garden’ branding, featuring original photographs representing the experiences of the Tri-Services on D-Day.
FreshLinc Director, Lee Juniper, says: “I have often wondered what goes through our veterans’ minds when they reflect back on what they did all those years ago. That’s what the ‘D-Day 75 Garden’ is all about and to be able to help keep their story alive is a real privilege.”
For many years Brittany Ferries has helped veterans of the Normandy Campaign make the important journey back to France for the annual D-Day commemorations. This May they agreed to give free passage to vehicles transporting the Garden across the Channel.
Brittany Ferries Communications Manager, Christopher Jones, says: “Our ships link the UK with the coast of Normandy year-round, making us ever-mindful of the close and historic bonds between the two. We’re proud to be supporting the D-Day 75 Garden, which will serve as a lasting memorial to those who lost their lives and to whom we owe such a huge debt of gratitude.”
You can still support this national project by visiting the crowdfunding page https://www.gofundme.com/dday-75-garden or TEXT “DDAY” to 70500 to donate £2.